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Barcelona hits six, Real gets the best of seven
by Ian Plenderleith, November 10th, 2008 7AM
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[SPAIN] Two strikers hit the Spanish headlines for scoring four goals apiece. Samuel Eto'o bagged a quartet for Barcelona as it hammered Real Valladolid 6-0, while Gonzalo Higuain scored all of Real Madrid's goals in its astonishing 4-3 win over Malaga at the Bernabeu. Villarreal edged Almeria to stay unbeaten and in second place, one point behind Barca and one ahead of Real.

Malaga, which has never won at the Bernabeu, went ahead in the see-saw, all-out attacking game on six minutes through Eliseu, but Higuain leveled two minutes later. Nabil Baha restored the Malaga lead at the end of a nice move after 18 minutes, before Higuain equalized again on 38 from the penalty spot. Madrid then lost Sergio Ramos just before halftime for stomping on an opponent. Apono scored a second-half penalty to give Malaga the edge with 20 minutes left, Higuain equalized for the third time a minute later with a shot from outside the area, and then he won the game 12 minutes from time after his second spot kick was saved by Francesc Arnau, but the ball fell straight back to the Franco-Argentine striker to convert the rebound. Higuain now has nine league goals this season.

"The penalty [against Real] and Ramos' red card made us stronger," said Real coach Bernd Schuster, "but I would prefer to win some other way. We have a new game every three days. Victories like this boost our morale and we have to try to improve on our mistakes in our next game. We hardly have time to work in our training sessions, but this victory has made the team psychologically stronger."

Barcelona had a somewhat easier ride thanks to four first-half goals from Eto'o, which took his season's tally to 13. Second-half additions from Eidur Gudjohnsen and Thierry Henry took the team's tally to a staggering 34 goals in 10 games, and an average of four per game in its last eight, all victories. "The result is a little unreal and misleading," said Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. "Throughout the first half Valladolid had as many counterattacks as we had. They couldn't finish them off, but we did because we have decisive players." He cautioned that "there are always areas we have to work on. We are not a perfect team and we haven't won any titles yet".

Villarreal looked set for a convincing victory over Almeria after NJ-raised Giuseppe Rossi scored in the first minute (his fourth of the season), and Joseba Llorente added a second on the quarter hour. Almeria's Argentine Pablo Piatti, who scored last week to earn his team a point against Real Madrid, pulled a goal back just after the hour, but Villarreal hung on for the three points. U.S. striker Jozy Altidore did not suit up for this one.

Fourth-place Valencia returned to form with a 3-0 road win at 10-man Getafe, as Manuel Fernandes and Joaquain, with a textbook volley, scored either side of Roberto Soldado's sending off. Vicente added a third on the counter-attack right after Getafe had a penalty appeal for a handball turned down at the other end.

Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao shared six goals, with Venezuelan midfielder Juan Arango twice on target for Mallorca as it took a 3-1 lead. But goals from Ion Velez and Fernando Llorente, in the 92nd minute, gave Bilbao the point that stopped it hitting bottom place. That honor went to Osasuna, which held Atletico Madrid 0-0 at home. Sevilla scraped a 1-0 home win over Recreativo Huelva thanks to a goal from Frederic Kanoute, helping it secure fifth place. It is five points clear of Deportivo La Coruna, also 1-0 winners at home, to Espanyol, on a goal from Mexican midfielder Andres Guardado.

Sporting Gijon's four-game winning streak was broken when it also lost 1-0, at Racing Santander, while Real Betis Sevilla won 4-2 at Numancia, helped by a double from Turkish midfielder Mehmet Aurelio.

Goals scored: 34 in 10 games (3.4 per game)


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